One of the major struggles everyone faces in their young adulthood is the quick transition from college life to professional work life. It may seem as though you have mastered a specific schedule and are on top of things, but life becomes much more difficult once school is no longer in the picture. Whether you are gearing up to graduate soon or just have, here is how you can be more prepared for the changes that come along with it.
Get Used to Less Free Time
The most important part of the transition to work life is the fact that you will have considerably less free time than before. Obviously college comes with a heavy schedule filled with classes, projects, and meetings; however, you are still able to plan most of those responsibilities around your own schedule. Once you join the professional world, you can’t wake up at 11:45am for that 12:00pm lecture or take a nap at 4:00pm. You will now have longer days to get used to and this can take some time to adjust. It will be stressful at first to not have more of this free time, but it’s an adjustment you’ll have to make in order to succeed.
Build a New Routine
With a new schedule to abide by, establishing a new routine will make this transition less demanding. Ample sleep is an important factor to remember here. Getting a good night’s rest will make waking up early in the morning much less painful. Creating a new routine will also help you carve out time between the hours after work and your bedtime to schedule other activities in order to stay productive. Maintaining a set schedule will allow to achieve more work-life balance that will be necessary to stay happy and stress free.
Be More Professional
As a working adult, you’re expected to display more professionalism inside and outside of the workplace. Rolling out of bed into sweatpants was acceptable for attending classes, but obviously not for your job. It will help you in the long run to start adding business professional pieces to your wardrobe earlier rather than later. Even if the office setting is more casual, you will need these types of outfits for interviews and networking events.
Physical professionalism is not the only type of professionalism you need. For most organizations, their employees are an extension of that organization’s brand. It’s essential to be aware that you’ll be held accountable for any activities or actions you participate in at work, or outside of work hours. Keep this in mind when you’re posting or sharing content online as well.
Take on New Responsibilities
With any career move you make after college, you’ll most likely be taking on more responsibilities. As a recent graduate, there will be new changes you’ll be responsible for, such as paying for bills or moving to a new city. These new types of responsibilities will occur in the workplace as well. You will be responsible for completing your work on time, getting along with fellow employees, and reaching specific goals. After being hired and trained for some time, it’s expected that you perform your job to the best of your ability without written instructions or a grading scale to assess your work.
Even though you may no longer be getting graded like you did in school, that doesn’t mean that your learning is over. Starting a new job still requires a lot of learning on your part, as you don’t just wake up an all-star in your career field overnight. Find ways that you are able to consistently learn new skills and advance your knowledge. Reach out to your coworkers for assistance and don’t be afraid to ask questions like you may have when learning a subject in school. You can also try to take on a new project at work or a class outside of work which will assist you in your career and continue to improve your skillset.
Still Have Fun
It’s important to remember that one of the things everyone loves about college is how fun and social it is. Just because you are now a working adult with more responsibilities and less time than you had in school, it does not mean that your fun has to end. Make time to do what you truly love during the week, as long as you can keep it within your organized and balanced schedule.
These simple tactics will give you a head start in transitioning from college life to your work world. While not every field or office has a typical 9-5 schedule, it’s important to be prepared to have your overall routine change. Whatever job you’re starting, try to discover the ways to find work-life balance and happiness in your career.
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